Sunday, 28 July 2019

Status Quo - Dog Of Two Head (1971)

Something's going on in my head....

  

Released November 1971

Running time 36.09

Status Quo were laying down their riffy rock, heads-down guitar-driven boogie sound for real by now having dabbled with it considerably before. It is a little-mentioned album but actually a really good one. The late sixties psychedelic experiments had long gone now and the band started seriously showcasing their heavy rock credentials. Yes, they were maybe not as heavy as Deep Purple, not as bluesy as Led Zeppelin or as frenetic as Black Sabbath, but they were definitely up there with them. Quo had an ear for a catchy melody to go with the heaviness and the riffs. They never lost that, either.

TRACK LISTING

1. Umleitung
2. Nanana (Extraction I)
3. Something's Going On In My Head
4. Mean Girl
5. Nanana (Extraction II)
6. Gerdundula
7. Railroad
8. Someone's Learning
9. Nanana                                                          

"Umleitung" (German for "diversion", by the way) is a wonderful seven minutes of bluesy, riffy Quo rock to open with. That trademark sound that slowly began making itself known on the preceding album, "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" was truly on its way here. This is what listeners would come to instantly recognise as the Status Quo sound over the subsequent decades. "Nanana (Extraction 1)" is an odd little bit of folky messing around that barely registers before some wonderful, deep, bassy riffing comes along on "Something's Going On In My Head", which is a great track. It has a lovely, warm, deep sound and Francis Rossi's slightly whiny voice giving it his all over some serious good guitar soloing. This is proper early seventies rock. Vastly underrated.

The quality continues on the hit single, the frantic but very catchy "Mean Girl". Previous to this, as a twelve year-old when this came out, I had only memories of the psychedelic "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" regarding Status Quo. This single changed all that. I loved it back then and do now. Status Quo were a different band now - a serious, loud, riffy rock band. It wasn't actually a hit until re-released after the success of "Paper Plane" in 1972.


"Nanana (Extraction II)" is slightly longer than the previous "Nanana", but not by much, which was a bit of a shame, as it might have been a nice enough, folky song. Never mind, a longer version would appear at the end. "Gerdundula" is, in its structure, a typically Quo riff-driven rocker. However, its riffs are acoustic ones, with Eastern/Celtic folky riffs driving it along, like early Steeleye Span on steroids. It was a re-recoding of a previous 'b' side. It is not long, however, before some serious heavy blues rock returns on the solid thump of "Railroad". "Someone's Learning" is an interesting track. It is heavy and riffy but also contains some changes of pace and style that showed Quo to be the clever composers they are not always given the credit for being. The eventual "Nanana" was a couple of minutes of laid-back, slightly incongruous folkiness. All these "Nanana"s, to be honest, serve little purpose and it would have been better being replaced by another rock track, as all the others are in that vein. They sit rather uncomfortably with the rest of the excellent guitar boogie material. This is a very small nit pick, though. Overall, this was a very impressive, hard-hitting album of typical early Quo rock.

B-

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